The Struggle for Palestine Continues

April 20, 2004

Below we print a number of statements from Palestinian and Arab spokespersons condemning George Bush's statements of April 14 and reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

In an official statement issued on April 14, from Ramallah the Palestinian Leadership said:

"President Arafat and Prime Minister Ahmed Qure' chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee in the presence of the Palestinian factions representatives."

"The Palestinian leadership received information about the deal Sharon seeks to strike with U.S. President, George Bush. This deal that Sharon seeks, affects for the first time the refugees issue, the 1967 borders including Jerusalem and covers the illegitimate existence & the expansion of the settlement blocks on the Palestinian land, in addition to the segregation wall which confiscates 45% of our land in the West Bank. It also substitutes the "road map" with Sharon's plan for expansion, occupation, settlement, the building of the segregation wall and the prevention of the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."

"The Israeli conditioned withdrawal from Gaza coupled with the continued Israeli control on Gaza borders with Egypt, sea, air and land give evidence that this withdrawal is meant to transform Gaza into a jail....

"This deal, which Sharon insists on, comes at the expense of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations and without the participation of this legitimate leadership represents an illegitimate act and serves the interests of the occupation and settlements and the segregation wall. We call on all Arab nations, the international community, Quartet and all peace loving forces to reject this project because it contradicts the international resolutions and the road map and affects the USA's role as a sponsor of peace."

PLO: Sharon-Bush "Exchanged Messages" Contradict International Legitimacy

RAMALLAH, April 15, 2004, (WAFA)- The Palestinian Liberation Organization(PLO) said Thursday that the Sharon-Bush "exchanged messages" contradict International legitimacy, the relevant signed accords and the Road Map peace plan.

In a meeting, chaired by President Yasser Arafat, attended by various Palestinian organizations, the PLO's Executive Committee reiterated its rejection to the Israeli occupation and colonization including the construction of the Apartheid wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)....

Arafat: Palestinian People, Land and Freedom Defender

RAMALLA, 15, 2004 April 15, 2004 (WAFA)- President Yasser Arafat has reiterated that the Palestinian people will not abandon their goals of achieving freedom, independence and national sovereignty in the Palestinian independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

In a live speech broadcast by Palestine TV on Thursday, Arafat said that "our fate is to defend our right to self-determination and the right to return to our homeland."

Arab League: Israel Must Pull out from 1967 Territories

CAIRO, April 15, 2004, (WAFA) - The League of Arab States affirmed Thursday the necessity for Israeli pullout from the Occupied 1967 Territories and of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on those Territories.

In a press conference, the spokesman of the League's Secretary General Hussam Zaki said that it is not possible to reward the Occupation or ignore the negotiations of the final status issues.

Zaki considered Israel's announcement to annex some settlements Blocs in the West Bank, is a direct contradiction of International law and a cut-off of the opportunities to achieve a just peace for the Palestinian issue.

Abed Rabbo: Bush Declared Death of Peace Process

On April 16, the Palestine Media Center reports on statements by Abed Rabbo, Minister of Information:

In an unprecedented, dangerous move, US President George W. Bush gave Israel's premier last night full backing for his go-it-alone plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip and implicitly recognized Israel's claim to some of the West Bank's largest settlement blocs as part of any peace accord with the Palestinians....

President Bush directly tilted towards the Sharon government by indicating for the first time that the Jewish state can retain six of the biggest settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in any final peace agreement reached with the Palestinians.

Under international law, all settlements are deemed illegal....

About 92,500 Israelis live in the six settlements, which Sharon wants to maintain a grip on and annex to Israel -- out of a total of 240,000 in the West Bank, or 400,000 if occupied east Jerusalem is included.

In a letter to the Israeli premier Ariel Sharon, Bush also voiced unequivocal support for Israeli demands to ensure that any peace deal with the Palestinians should not provide for the thousands of Palestinians who were expelled from their homes by Zionist paramilitaries in 1948 to return to Israel.

Effectively, [the Bush-Sharon plan] means that Israel can annex and keep the settlements of Ma'ale Adumim, the largest colony in the West Bank, which Israel envisions will grow to the edges of Jerusalem, Kiryat Arba, Ariel, Givat Ze'ev, Gush Etzion and the Jewish settler enclave at the heart of the southern West Bank city of Hebron for "eternity" as he had promised settlers.